2017 must be the year that the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation come entirely clean about their forensics foul-ups, including “scent evidence.”
In the summer of 1982, Julius Manning confessed to a series of post office crimes, one of which Dale Sutton was wrongly serving time for, based on the perjured testimony of dog handler John Preston.
Sutton was exonerated and released from federal custody in January of 1983.
In January of 1984, Brevard County, Florida prosecutors put John Preston on the stand to provide knowingly perjured testimony against Gary Stanley Bennett Jr. They backed up Preston’s perjuries with additional perjuries from jailhouse informants Kenneth Plemmons and Michael Turner, and achieved a conviction in record time … understandably.
The prosecutors – particularly John Dean Moxley – had had plenty of practice. They had used the exact same tactics against Gerald Stano (wrongly executed 1998), Wilton Dedge (exonerated 2004), William Dillon (exonerated 2008) and yet-to-be-fully-disclosed number of others … dozens of them.
Sadly, Brevard County was imitating Orange County, Florida where hapless schizophrenic Linroy Bottoson was convicted of the murder of a postal worker based on perjuries from Preston and a coached informant. The FBI participated in the prosecution. Linroy was wrongly executed in 2002.
Floridians have been defrauded of a fortune to persecute and incarcerate and sometimes execute innocents. And that’s hardly the full extent of the damages.
John Dean Moxley is every bit as lawless as a judge. So is Brevard sheriff Wayne Ivey, formerly Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s reprehensible representative in Brevard.
Ivey hasn’t the sense to maintain a low profile, unlike most criminals. He’s a Have Gun, Will Travel Trump supporter, recently endorsing increased police power, just as one would reasonably expect from a full-out abuser of police powers that were already in place.
The only forensic analysis methods that survived the turn of the century unscathed was DNA … Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis, hair analysis, fiber analysis, unique human scent, bite mark, shaken baby, fire accelerant, blood splatter, fingerprint, illegal substance field tests, etc., have all undergone revision, increased scrutiny or been discredited.
I say all that to say this: Brevard has even been known to have an expect fudge DNA testimony. Jeff Abramowski was convicted in this century under the ridiculous pretense that two out of 15 markers was a “hit.” The expert was employed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement – when Wayne Ivey was still with the agency.
The DoJ is aware that the FBI used a number of DNA-discredited dog handlers. John Preston was one of the most prolific participator in bogus investigations – @1,000 – but Keith Pikett muddled more than double Preston’s count.
Where the buck stops on faux forensics frame-ups – so far – has been with framed inmates’ families and activists, not with paid public servants, not with tax exempt innocence organizations. That has to change this very year.
Act, DoJ: bring frame-up specialists to justice: with governors’ assistance, they’ve killed before and will kill again, and in the meantime, they’ll defraud of us our tax dollars to warehouse innocents while burglars, rapists and killers responsible for the crimes find new victims among us.